‘The King’ is the only solo artist in history who has broken the 200 million barrier, and the scariest part is that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) first began tracking sales of Elvis Presley’s music in 1958, which means that they don’t include many of the successful recordings he released before that year. Even under these circumstances, Elvis has more gold (90), platinum (52) and multi-platinum (25) album awards than any artist and is the best-selling solo artist of all time in the United States.
Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, Presley was commercially successful in many genres including pop, blues and gospel. He won three Grammys, also receiving the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36, and has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame. He is also regarded as the leading figure of rock and roll after a series of successful network television appearances and chart-topping records.
His energised interpretation of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined with a singularly potent mix of influences across colour lines that coincided with the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement made Presley enormously popular—and controversial. In 1973, he was featured in the first globally broadcast concert via satellite, Aloha from Hawaii, a broadcast which reached millions of viewers live and on tape delay. His costume throughout his career became the most recognised example of the elaborate concert garb with which his latter-day persona became closely associated.
Several years of prescription drug abuse however, severely damaged his health, and he died in 1977 at the age of 42.
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